31 January 2010

The Sickies

 Why is it that we look forward to a fun outing or meeting up with a friend and that just happens to be the time that the sickies hit?!  I have friends that we have tried so many times to meet up only to have to cancel because one or the other of our kids is sick! 
I was really upset back in December when we had to miss a much anticipated Christmas party due to this very thing!!  I mean I was crushed for my kids.  I was absolutely devastated that they had to miss!

Karis was feeling somewhat bad yesterday.  Still playing as normal, but complaining of a soar throat.  We did get to have our friends over and attend a going away party for some colleagues returning to the US, but Karis missed church today and it is doubtful that tomorrow we will get to meet up with some of our friends who we missed getting together with a few weeks ago because they were sick!  I am so ready for the sickie season to end!!  Anyone else?!

30 January 2010

Back to "school," language learning

In December we started using some podcasts to learn some Spanish.  I really like them!!
I am so not a good language student!!  It could partly be that the first foreign language I studied was one of the most difficult.....Russian.  We had 16 hours of class a week and I was getting there, but not like Jerry.  He's such the student!  Loves studying....what is wrong with him?! =P
I was not a good language student the first time, or really the second time for that matter.  I didn't get very far in Czech.  I could get ya around a restaurant and about 80% of the products in a grocery store and that is about it!  Forget about saying much about me or my family.  Oh, I can say that I have 3 children, but we wouldn't get very far after that!  We've been so spoiled that Prague is such an international city and so many people speak English.

Well, that's ALL about to change.  From our experience in October, very few Spanish speak English.  Even at our beloved Starbucks!!  Well, later on in our visit I did have a barista who spoke English to me.  But seriously, I was in a language culture shock when we first arrived in Madrid!  That slowly eased and I made my way around, but we will definitely need to learn the language.  And I'm ok with that.  If we are going to go full fledged into a language, I am glad it's Spanish.  If we ever find ourselves returning permanently to the US (not in our plan, of course) this will be a big plus for us and our kiddos.  I'm excited for them to learn the language.

Everyone tells me that Spanish is so easy and from the few lessons that I've listened to I can see why people would say that when you compare it to a Slavic language.  But there is still a whole lotta work that has to go into learning ANY language.

For me it is just going to be a matter of listening to those lessons over, and over, and probably over a few more times.  My head was spinning yesterday from trying to keep straight the words for mother, father, sister, brother, wife, husband.  I can't even recall!  But, I look forward to the day when I can say that I have conquered a language.  It's the getting there that I'm not really looking forward to.


28 January 2010

Not much of an update on Madrid

 I found myself a tad grumpy about it today.  And if I'm truly honest, even a little sad.  This is going to be one SLOW process!! 
Today I stopped and did the math on how long it could take before we move.  BIG mistake!  Why do I even go there?!  I know, God has a plan and the perfect time, but come on God.  I only want to get there and do this work for you!!  Ha!
We have a logistics coordinator in Madrid that has now sent in a visa request for us to the government in Spain.  Typically it takes 6 weeks to hear back on that.  Then with that little piece of paper we can go to the Spanish Embassy in Prague, along with a visa application and a bunch of other little pieces of paper (birth certificates, health certificates, marriage license, police report, etc) we can submit our application for a visa.  Thinking about getting all those papers together makes my head spin.  And not only get them together, but get them translated into Spanish.
Based on the process in the past the coordinator figures we could make an appointment around March 22 to submit our paperwork.  When doing it from the States, once this information is submitted at the embassy, the process takes about 4 months!  Say what??  Seriously?!
We do have some friends who also did this process outside of the US and the time from submitting the paperwork was only 2 months.  Even still, that does not get us to Spain until May.  If it is the latter, it wouldn't be until July!!  Argh!!
So, that is our not so much of an update on moving to Madrid.  So, life must go on in Prague, although I find myself daily dreaming of days in Madrid!   One day, one day this year we will get there! 
So, I think I'll go play soccer with the kids in the hallway and try to get out of my grumpy mood!!

26 January 2010

25 January 2010

Something Beautiful

I had planned on sharing this sooner, but time got away from me.   But, I had to tell you about my online friend, Kristen.  We met through Hannah's Prayer's, we've been facebook "friends" and I've followed her blog the past few years.  Well, her and her hubby have been trying to adopt a little boy from Haiti for almost 3 years.  During the wait they made many trips to visit him. 
The past few months, Kristen has been preparing for a marathon for a Haitian birthing center and ran that marathon a few weeks ago in Orlando.  After the race, with her 8 month old daughter, who is also a Karis =), took off for Haiti to visit Keanan (legal name - Kembert).
Then the earthquake hit Haiti!!  When news of the earthquake came out I automatically thought of Kristen.  I was searching all over to find news!  Luckily, her husband, Mark, was updating her facebook page.  Praise God she was in one of the few structurally sound buildings.   The story does not stop there.  She writes of her escape from Haiti, having to leave Keanan behind and then the journey of bringing him home on a humanitarian parole!!  It is quite the story, complete with news coverage!!
Visit her blog for more of the story, but this is one of those moments where something beautiful came out of devastation!  Just like our Creator to do such things!!
Be sure to check out this beautiful family's journey!  What a blessing!

10 January 2010

Part II of 10 years!! Reminiscing the Past

Whew!  It took me awhile to get this all written out, but here it is!

These next, or last few years I talk about are mostly going to be kid talk since our lives changed quite a bit with going from 0-3 in 8 months!!

So, I left off that we found out we were having twins.  It was quite a joke with several colleagues who were praying us through this time that we would adopt & get pregnant with twins.  I kept thinking the same thing!  God sure does have a sense of humor!!  I remember so well, waiting on that first ultrasound!  My mom had come to help and met her newest granddaughter.  It was so nice to have her there in those early days of pregnancy and queezy tummy and trying to care for a baby.  She kept Karis for us while we went to our appointment.  To hear those words that it was twins!!  I had always dreamed of twins, but knowing the likelihood was slim, I just didn't think it would ever happen.
I remember the excitement of coming home and my mom being the first one we told of our additional news.

~ I had to go back and update my first post about our Russian home group becoming an established church.  It was so great to be a part it all!!  There were 3 of us at church that were due within a month of each other.  It was so fun talking through our pregnancies together!

~ My first tea party.  It seems kind of funny that I would mention this, but in the summer I had decided that I wanted to host an afternoon tea party.  I went all out with handmade invitations and sent them out about 2 months early.  All this happened before we got Karis or got pregnant.  Of course I still threw my party.  It was crazy trying to do it all with a baby and being pregnant, but we had such a great time.  I have since hosted 2 more tea parties.  I just love it!  So girly and fun!!  Ha!

~ Christmas 2005.  Our first Christmas as a family of 3.  Jerry's parents came to meet their first granddaughter and celebrate with us.
~ We had decided that we would do a Czech only adoption and then immigrate Karis to the US.  The law is that once the child has been in your custody for 2 years you can do this.  It is much cheaper than doing a US adoption, so we chose this route.

~ You would think that my ability to remember dates would continue, but it didn't!  Ha!  It's funny how I can remember specific dates for our earlier experiences, but as time went on I just can't remember.  Anyway, around 18 weeks it was finally time to find out the gender of these babies.  I had an incredible doctor!  She first told me she thought it was 2 girls.  Honestly, my heart sank just a tad.  I was happy to be carrying healthy babies, but I'd wished to have a son.  But within seconds she piped up "Oh wait! No, no!  That was is definitely a boy!!"  My heart soared.  Not only to dream of twins, but dream fulfilled of having boy/girl twins!!
~ April 18, 2006 we celebrate Karis' first birthday with pizza & cake with colleagues.  Fun times!!  And the girl hardly tasted the cake.  It was not her thing to dive in!!  Funny, because now that girl loves cake....and cookies.....and candy......and any type of junk food!!  Hee hee!!

~ Once Karis turned a year we were able to finalize the Czech adoption.  We completed the necessary paperwork and had a court date in May.  Everything went smoothly and the court appointed her as our daughter.  Yay!

~ I had an extremely easy pregnancy for carrying twins.  Of course I had the aches and pains that are associated with pregnancy, but I was fully expecting bed rest.  I have known a good percentage of twin moms that went on bed rest.  I automatically assumed I would be one of them.  But I didn't.  Just the norm with some insomnia thrown in there.
~ I don't want it to seem that ministry took a backseat.  Jerry did continue to grow his team.  We were small in the beginning with 3-4 people and we continued to work with the Russian church.  It's really incredible how God works out the details.  As Jerry's responsibilities grew in media, that left less time to work with the Russian church.  Around that same time is when a Russian speaking missionary came to be the pastor of the church.  For a time we hosted a Bible Study in our home and hosted a Russian movie night at the office, but that is all Jerry was able to offer.  But God knew the details and put the right people in the right place at the right time.  Praise God!!

~ My parents were coming to be with us for 6 weeks when the babies would be born and to help take care of Karis while we were all in the hospital.  They were due to arrive on June 6, 2006 to have a week to acclimated and familiar with Karis' schedule and figure out what she eats.  I had the house mostly ready for their arrival.  I woke up that morning bleeding.  I came out to Jerry sobbing and told him what was happening.  He's always my calm!  We called the dr and although she was concerned, she was very calm about it as well and told me to come to the hospital asap.  We really didn't know what all of this meant.  Because my parents were arriving that day we had to figure out what to do with Karis, and fast.  Jerry started calling colleagues and through the course of the day they passed her around.  I'm so thankful to all of them!!
Jerry thinks I was so crazy because I was adamant about getting a shower & doing my makeup.  Again, I really did not know until later what kind of danger we were all in.  We got Karis taken care of and were on our way in a taxi. I really had much peace about it all, especially that I could feel the babies moving.  It was discovered that I had placenta previa and the babies needed to come out fast.  From the time I discovered that I was bleeding (about 8 am) and the time the babies was born was 2 and 1/2 hours (10:25 am and 10:26 am).
Due to the urgency I needed to be put to sleep.  I was told it would be much quicker and add less stress to do it that way.  I just wanted what was safest for all of us.  Jerry could interject his own story here of once I was put to sleep.  He was able to stand at the doorway while they did a c-section.  Good thing he has a strong stomach!!  We'll spare you the details!!  Ha!
It was late afternoon before I woke up and I was in much pain.  My doctor came to see me soon after and gave me some pain meds.  And sometime later I was able to meet Brennan & Reegan for the first time!  Of course they were beautiful!! =)
Because I was in ICU and out sleeping, Jerry was able to go get my parents at the airport.  I was released from ICU the next day and into a regular room for the next 7!!  Yes 7 and it got long!
Reegan was 2.220 kilos (4.9 pounds) and should have gone to NICU based on size.  Because she was a sturdy little thing and breathing well, they sent her to the nursery and near me.  Brennan came in at 2.960  kilos (6.5 pounds).  It wasn't until this next day that we learned how serious my condition was.
Brennan on the left, Reegan on the right.  Yes, in blue!

~ Not even 12 hours after coming home from the hospital we had to return Reegan.  During the night while feeding we noticed she had some swelling on her jaw line.  I was still recovering from my c-section, so Jerry called a taxi and had to take her back to the hospital.  Talk about an emotional night!  Not being able to be with my baby girl.  Honestly though, I hadn't better than I could ever imagine.  I knew she was in good hands at the hospital.  It turns out she had a salivary gland infection.  They hoped to cure it with antibiotics, but if that didn't work they would have to do surgery to remove it.  Luckily it never came to that.  The antibiotics were working.  She came home after a week.  I got to visit her once during that time, which was so hard on me!  But I was overdoing it and my c-section incision was becoming infected.  My doctored ordered me to stay home.  With the Lord's strength we made it through that time.

~ We felt blessed to have 3 solid months of help.  My parents were with us for 6 weeks and then Jerry's parents were with us for another 6.  That helped us tremendously.  By the time they all left, Brennan & Reegan were sleeping through the night!

~ Soon after we found our first babysitter, Zuzana.  She was a big help to me.  We had her come for about 8 hours a week.  It allowed me the chance to get out and get needed errand done.  It was almost impossible to get out with 2 babies and a toddler without a vehicle! 

~ We were living in a 2 bedroom apartment.  It was cramped!!  Earlier that year our organization had purchased a newly remodeled space that they were making into an apartment.  We were asked to move to this new location.  It took a little longer to get the paperwork squared away, so it was December before we moved.  Some how we packed and unpacked with 3 little ones!  I have no idea how we did that!  Ha!

~ That whole next year of 2007 almost seems like a blur with settling into our new place, celebrating Karis' 2nd birthday, then Brennan and Reegan's 1st birthday, taking a trip to Greece for another annual meeting, preparing for our stateside assignment as well as paperwork to get Karis into the US.

~ Finally, after 4 years and 7 months since our last stateside assignment and a couple of times of delaying our trip back, we made it to the US in early December.  Jerry's mom had traveled to Prague to help us pack up and make the long flight back.  Having that extra set of hands was much needed!

~ We had agreed to be the MIR at Southwestern Seminary for the year.  We had a little 3 bedroom duplex on campus with a yard (that was a huge excitement for us after apartment living) and settled into life in the US.  Jerry worked 20 hours a week in the missions center as well as keeping up his team leader duties.

~ Throughout the course of the 2008 year we spoke at several churches in Texas, Louisiana, & California.  Jerry & I had the chance to attend a Couple's Getaway in Colorado for a long weekend in April.  It was awesome!!

~ In the Spring we had lasik eye surgery!  So all pictures from here on out while be glass-less!  Woohoo!!  Except for sunglasses, of course! Ha!

~ That summer we started learning that our organization was about to make some massive changes to the structure of what we do.  Jerry was asked to participate in the restructuring of the media side of our org.  Through time we discovered that his job would basically be the same, but how things were done would change.  Instead of working for our area of service (Central & Eastern Europe) we would now be led completely by those in media.  It made a lot of sense to do it this way.  Now those who had a media background would be leading the media with the help of each area.  Instead of Central & Eastern Europe & Western Europe as two regions we would now join to make the European Affinity Group.

~ During the summer as well, I was asked to become a part of the Board of Directors of Hannah's Prayer.  The infertility ministry that I've been a part of.  And a few months later was asked to become to director of the BOD.    I love this ministry so much!!

~ In time we discovered that the US embassy in Prague gave us the wrong visa to enter the US.  We were able to get Karis in, but the paperwork that we had to do after that took an additional 6 months more than the visa we were suppose receive.  Our plan was to return to Prague in January 2009, but due to the timeframe to receive her citizenship we were not able to return until April.  Were we ever glad to get that behind us and now have Karis as a US citizen!  We had gone to the immigration office for a ceremony only to arrive and find that they had told us the wrong day.  We had both grandparents and our good friends, the Vanns come to join in the celebration.  Oh well!  They still gave us the documentation and we had a celebratory lunch afterward.

~ The next few weeks were spent packing up our things in suitcases as well as preparing to send a crate to Prague.

~ April 7, 2009, 2 adults check in with 3 kids, 3 car seats and 15 suitcases.  We found out the DAY of leaving that car seats count as a suitcase.  We HAD to take them.  God gave us just the right guy to check us in.  We was gracious & merciful and no additional baggage fees were added.  That has NEVER happened to us before!!  What a blessing!!

~ One week later we celebrate Karis' 4th birthday.  We counted up and had FORTY people in our apartment.  It got crowded but it was fun to see so many we hadn't seen in awhile.

~ It was one crazy first month with my parents arrival a few days after our return, a trip back to the States for an HP board meeting & retreat we were hosting for our members, then Jerry went to the States for a meeting.  It was a whirlwind as well as getting acclimated and groceries stocked up!

~ June brought another annual meeting to Greece and a week later our crate came!  Yay, Christmas in July!!  Ha!

~ We knew when we came back that the Lord was leading us in a different direction as far as any ministry we would be a part of.  Our Russian language abilities weren't near what they had been and felt led in a different direction (more to come on that later).

~ July we took an early 15 year anniversary trip to Berlin, Germany to see U2 in concert while the kiddos stayed with some awesome colleague/friends in Prague.

~ By the summer Jerry was fulling working at home.  Due to all the changes, the media team lost office space.  The transition went well for all of us and continues so!

~ In October Jerry's parents came to spend some time with us.....I mean the grandkids! Ha!!  Jerry had a meeting in Madrid.  They let me tag along with him while they watched the kids.

~A new church planting team was assembled in Prague during the summer.  These colleagues had been working in another area of Czech Republic.  They have brought in some fresh ideas and soon after their arrival the media team joined with them to start a new community group called Bridge Community.  We have loved being a part of Bridge!!  We meet on Sunday nights for a church gathering at a local hotel.  We are loving it!!  Our services are mostly in English with some Czech songs and currently have 6 Czechs that attend on a regular basis and normally have others that attend during the month.  Our focus is to reach out to people around us through community service.  Each month we've been focusing on some kind of outreach like picking up trash, in October we went to a pumpkin patch and coming up next we'll be doing something similar to a yard sale, only we'll be doing it at a local grocery store.  I'm also going to be starting a cooking/baking class in February that I'm excited about.  My plan is for us to each take a turn with sharing a recipe.

That pretty much brings us up to today!  I'm sure I've left some things out, but I hit some of the highlights.  What an adventure it's been to see where God has taken us and where we'll go from here!!  Thanks for reading my ramblings!!


  Deeper - adj. 1. extending or situated relatively far down from a surface: a deep pool. It's been a long time since I've ...